friday close-ups with: Shayleen Kurtz

This weeks Friday Close-up is with one of my very good friends from Northern California: Shay Kurtz. 


1. Was your first pregnancy planned? Our oldest daughter was a honeymoon baby, and no that was not a part of the 3-5 year plan...

We were 19 and 21 when we got married and we thought we would wait awhile and "just be married". Two weeks later, and two little pink lines later...we are headed for parenthood faster than we could comprehend it.  But I'm sure glad that we aren't always in control of making all the plans in this life, because I could not imagine life without our little girl! That pregnancy and our sweet daughter has taught us so much, I would not be the same without her. 

2. What was your reaction when you found out? Being a young newly-wed, I was completely shocked, scared, nervous, hopeful, excited... pretty much any and every emotion you could imagine! 

3. Who did you tell first? My husband was out of the house for a bit and I had felt funny that day, smells were stronger than normal and I felt dizzy and tired. So I ran to the store for a test, came home..freaked out...and ran over to my Aunt's house! I asked her what this meant, like I didnt already know. And she helped me process all that was going on. Of course she was so excited for me, because the day after my wedding she found out she was expecting #4! 

4. Did you have morning sickness? I thought I was experiencing what they all call "morning sickness". I thought, this must be how all the other moms feel, why can't I function and be stronger like them? From 2 weeks after conception, the dizziness, increased sensitivity to smells, and slight food adversion began. From there at week 4, I began to get very sick. I almost had to be hospitalized because I was so dehydrated. I was violently vomitting  for days on end. With strong medication, I could get by with maybe only throwing up 8 times a day. This lasted for months, until I was about 24 weeks pregnant. I didn't understand it, I wanted it to end, and as I waited for each milestone to pass, I got more and more discouraged that I was not getting better. Now I realized that I was dealing with something far more than simple morning sickness, many women suffer from it and they don't know. People tell them to suck it up, go to work, eat some crakers and they will feel better. But what those well-meaning people don't understand is that this is a different kind of sickness, one not talked about much, and highly misunderstood. But little by little as women share their stories, it is bringing light to a place where many have felt in the dark. Hypermesis Gravarium is a serious illness that thousands suffer from. And saying that you have experienced it doesn't give you a crutch to hold to, but freedom in knowing you weren't alone in those dark, lonely places. It brings hope to know that this isn't "normal", and we together can work towards finding a cure, ways to make it better, and support moms who have had to walk through it. It was the hardest thing I've ever gone through, but then again, aren't those the things in life that define you? 

5. What did you crave during your pregnancy? Considering my extreme sickness, I just craved to eat food again! But oddly enough the only thing that would help settle my tummy and sounded good, was oranges. So I ate multiple oranges every day!

6. Did you find out the sex of your baby? Yes! I am terrible at surprises! My sister had a dream the week after our wedding of a little girl dancing, and that was before we knew I was even pregnant.  She told me about the dream as soon as we announced that we were expecting. So my curiosity drove me crazy from then on. I felt it was easier to connect with the baby when I knew what the gender was. And it helped with all the difficulty I had experienced to bring some joy and excitment to those challenging times.  A name was important to us and so we wanted to begin calling our baby by their name and praying over their life. We named our little girl Naomi, which means: my joy, my pleasant one. 

7. How far along were you when you delivered? Our sweet girl came on her due date! From day one she didn't want to miss a thing so she came on time and ready to experience life!

8. Did you deliver vaginal or c-section? I had a wonderful, uncomplicated vaginal birth. I was so blessed with the whole experience. Considering the hardship of pregnancy, birthing was a breeze! I was ecstatic to meet our daugther! I was filled with so much joy and love, becoming a mom was a life long dream and it was incredible to finally experience it!

9. What was the hardest part about becoming a mom? Honestly for me, finding the right balance in my life can be challenging. So, being a young newly-wed and a young mom was hard to adjust to. Being so many different roles is hard, and making your priorities evolve and stay in the right order is a constant job! I couldn't do it without the Lord as my rock. He reminds me of what should come first, and He demostrates it through love. I am so thankful for God and the supportive people I have intentionally surrounded myself with. They keep me with my eyes pointed in the right direction, my feet planted on the rock, and my heart open and full of love and forgiveness. We all need it.

10. What was the best part about becoming a mom? There's nothing quite like a dream fulfilled. So many parts of you experience it. The longing you have had is gone, and it is replaced with extreme fulfillment, joy and gratefulness.  I could just sit for hours with our newborn baby girl and dream for her life and all the joy and greatness she would experience. It brings brings Hope, Faith and Love; and those are the greatest gifts. 

11. Best piece of advice to give a new mom? From the beginning, enjoy every moment. You will have challenges, failures, victories and some of the best memories you could ever imagine. Stay true to who you are, don't loose yourself in all the nurturing and care-taking that you do. Remember that your children need you to be a whole and healthy person to give the most you can to them. So stay happy and hopeful, no matter what your day just looked like. God's mercy is new everyday, you can count on it. 

12. A baby item you could not live without would be? Oh Dear! This is the hardest question yet... As easy as it is to get to wrapped up in all the baby gear and convenient gadgets and things, I would say: STAY SIMPLE! With Pinterest and hundreds of baby blogs telling you all the things you need to make motherhood easier, and though some of that it true...don't be overwhelmed by stuff! Obviously by the second child, you use way less than with the first, thats just the way it goes.  So by baby two, I couldn't live without my Bobby newborn napper pillow in the play pen, and my Maya Wrap. And of course since she was a binkie baby, the Wubbanub Pacifier was a life saver!

Thank you all for letting me share my story! I hope it blessed you, and I look forward to hearing more of your stories! And thank you Gina for providing this amazing community of moms where we can share, learn and grow together! I adore you! xoxo